Running Time
1h 55m, with intermission

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2016 SEASON
July 19 - Aug 6
Aug 23 - Sept 10   Oct. 4-30

 



Continue the Conversation

After watching Ayad Akhtar's topical thriller, The Invisible Hand, we're sure you'll agree that the themes and issues in the play merit further discussion. We invite you to read the questions below and submit your responses. If you'd like to continue the conversation, please join us at a series of audience reflections on Monday evenings during the play's run.

1.
What role does money play in shaping the events in The Invisible Hand?

2. What are the factors that explain the actions Bashir takes in the play? What about Dar? And the Imam?

3. What responsibility, if any, do people in the financial industry bear for events from which they profit?

4. In the play, Nick claims that "America, for all its faults, tries to use [its power] well." How has America used its power in its period of post-war dominance? In what ways has it been more responsible than other historical world powers? In what ways has it has failed to "use its power well"?



Scroll down to view selected responses

Join us on Monday evenings

| Audience Reflections:
Conversations Inspired by The Invisible Hand

Monday July 25th at 7pm
Monday, August 1st at 7pm
Monday, August 8th at 7pm

at Westport Country Playhouse

Share your thoughts on the play's themes and issues with other audience members in an interactive forum. Free & open to the public!


Community Responses

1. What role does money play in shaping the events in The Invisible Hand?

"Major force."
- Ellen L.F. Strauss, Esq. (Ret.)

"The money itself is just a ransom. What is important is the mechanism by which one can take an existing amount of money and increase it, by manipulation of the market (plus a certain amount of luck). Without this mechanism, the protagonist would be reduced to trying to find extra funds elsewhere."
- Anonymous

"A major role. Perhaps the only one."
- Anonymous

"Money is the root of most problems. The play shows that it is as intoxicating as alcohol or drugs. No one is beyond reproach."
- Anonymous

"It plays a central role. It provides the temptation to abandon reason. It is the 'currency' of power."
- Anonymous


2. What are the factors that explain the actions Bashir takes in the play? What about Dar? And the Imam?

"Each one was looking out for himself regardless of their claims to be working for the 'people.' Self-interest and distrust ruled the day."
- Ellen L.F. Strauss, Esq. (Ret.)

"Bashir was an idealist (at least at the beginning of the play). Dar was a youngster, who did what he was told: a thug, if you like. The Imam was a classic corrupt petty official, using religion and fear to get his own way, while creaming off a health share of the profits (or an unhealthy share of the principal, in the play)."
- Anonymous

"Bashir is bright, and he learns that money is power, and he uses it to his advantage, not caring about the lives he destroys in order to acquire it. Dar is young, and perhaps the most dangerous man in the play, one willing to obey the Imam without reservation, biding his time, until it's his turn to have power. The Imam is old and stupid, and corrupt. Money and power are the 2 factors at play for all 3 men."
- Anonymous

"Ultimately, Bashir is well meaning- however, he is corrupted by the adrenaline rush of making money. He's also destroyed by the Imam's graft and stealing, causing him to rebel, revolt and murder. Dar is a low level employee merely trying to get by (like most of us). I was most disappointed in the course the Imam took-I wanted him to be a better, stronger person who was able to withstand the lure of the money. That being said, the entire premise of the show is predicated on the fact that he allows a kidnapping to take place and he justifies it by telling his minions, Nick and himself that he's doing it for the good of the people."
- Anonymous

"Bashir is young and bright. He is also deeply angry because of racist bullying while living in London. He wants to fight for the cause of his people. He wants power and influence. His ego needs to not be crushed. The Imam has also been wounded by the murder of his father after he tried to right a wrong in his society. It taught him that you have to steal and use force and intimidation to get ahead. Dar is young and at first is sympathetic to Nick. But his young, impressionable mind is soon corrupted by the corruption around him."
- Anonymous


3. What responsibility, if any, do people in the financial industry bear for events from which they profit?

"Hard to judge what actions others will take based upon what one person does. The financial industry is not necessarily of one common mind. That is an oversimplification."
- Ellen L.F. Strauss, Esq. (Ret.)

"Unless they deliberately cause the event, I don't see that they have any responsibility. Shorting on a plummeting currency is acceptable, unless you were the one to trigger the fall."
- Anonymous

"A great deal of responsibility. They should be held accountable. However, they do not deserve to be treated the way Nick was treated."
- Anonymous

"I have had this conversation with many people: in a true financial situation, morals can not be applied. I would equate this to trying to apply morals to science or mathematics- these areas are devoid of thought or reason or consequence. SHOULD there be a responsibility, yes. Do I think it will ever happen; no."
- Anonymous

"While it is true that one individual cannot completely control the actions of another, those who trade in financial instruments should model responsible behavior. Nick tries to explain to Bashir that a disciplined approach makes money, but "pigs get slaughtered." It falls on deaf ears, but at least he tried. Prudent investing can make money for good. Reckless investing, driven by greed can lead to disaster not just for the investor but can also hurt others. Sometimes LOTS of others. If this happens, the investor should be held accountable. And it's never OK to intentionally trigger an event from which you will profit. Especially a negative event."
- Anonymous


4. In the play, Nick claims that "America, for all its faults, tries to use [its power] well." How has America used its power in its period of post-war dominance? In what ways has it been more responsible than other historical world powers? In what ways has it has failed to "use its power well"?

"America makes plenty of errors as well as deliberate decisions based upon what is perceived as its self-interest at a particular point in time."
- Ellen L.F. Strauss, Esq. (Ret.)


"I think, on the whole, America has used its power for good. Admittedly they have made mistakes, but over the years, we Europeans always felt that their heart is in the right place. Well, apart from the invasion of Iraq, which was idiotic."

- Anonymous

"Nick was a sympathetic character in the play. I found myself nodding when he said that. I think that America for the most part tries to do the right thing. However, its influence in the rest of the world is going in the wrong direction. It is exporting capitalism everywhere in the world, and to my mind it's not desirable. Capitalism profits only to a few."
- Anonymous

"To define 'using power well' is a slippery slope. There is no one correct answer- it is left up to interpretation. Is America's purpose to help America first? And to what end would that be? Has American blossomed financially? Militarily? Democratically? And then there is the question of what is America's responsibility to other countries, religions, economies, etc? The answer to all of these questions is a qualified yes and no to each. Depending on whom you ask, when you ask and what you ask- America has used its power well and not-well. If America helped you personally, then yes, it's used its power well. If you've been mistreated or unaffected then they have not done a 'good job'."
- Anonymous

"America has tried to use it's power for good. But there is always something in it for America to gain. That's not necessarily bad. It can be good for the other involved countries, too. But these things are never as clean and easy as would be nice. Due to cultural differences and sloppy mistakes, our actions can be mis-perceived as greedy or interfering. And we've (unintentionally) made a mess of some of our undertakings."
- Anonymous